"Look, mister, there's two kinds of dumb: A guy that gets naked and runs out in the snow and barks at the moon, and a guy who does the same thing in my living room. First one don't matter; the second one, you're kinda forced to deal with." -George, Hoosiers
Bill O'Brien has now officially entered second-kind-of-dumb territory. The largest comeback in a regular season game in NFL history is 28 points (49ers over Saints, 1980). This game was 41-0 at halftime. Everything the Texans did after that point needs to be viewed through the lens of "but they were not going to win this game, regardless." Knowing that, WHY IN THE HELL WERE ARIAN FOSTER, DEANDRE HOPKINS, JADEVEON CLOWNEY, AND J.J. WATT STILL IN THIS GAME IN THE FOURTH QUARTER?!?
The short answer is probably some mindless platitude like "we play all four quarters" or "we don't ever give up" or something equally meaningless. The real answer is "because Bill O'Brien wanted the final score to make it look like the team didn't get fisted with a sandpaper glove, even though they did." And for what? O'Brien's ego?
Not to mention, even if the team did the impossible and came back...SO WHAT? This is still a team that only has playoff "hopes" in the sense that the AFC is a dumpster fire of sadness and suck. There's no rational person who thinks this team will make the playoffs, let alone go on a Super Bowl run, so what good is a massive comeback in the grand scheme of things?
"It would have been a confidence booster, something to build on!" say the idiots out there.
Great. Risking injury for a million-to-one shot at "confidence" in a future game. You know what else gives this team "confidence"? When Arian Foster is healthy and clicking and opens up the offense for everyone else. But O'Brien's Quixotic tilting at the windmills of logic and reason might have just ended any chance of Arian Foster ever doing that for the Texans again.
Say what you will about how bad Hoyer looked, how bad the defense looked in the first half, or how Godsey and Crennel are cripple-fighting for the label of Most Disappointing Coordinator. The takeaway for me begins and ends with Bill O'Brien. He spent a lot of time on Hard Knocks talking about no longer being an "almost" team.
His lack of leadership and intelligence in the second half today showed that the Texans will never move beyond "almost" while he's at the helm.
Back when I was in school, I had to take a literature class my sophomore year. I opted for "American Literature Since 1860". It was the only class on my schedule I was looking forward to after a semester stuffed with fun stuff like Business Law, Calculus, and Accounting.
The class ended up being a bummer because it took place in one of those amphitheaters with three hundred students. A setting like that makes it impossible to have any sort of discourse. If you did want to have any input, a teacher's assistant would come stumbling through the aisles like a deer covered in fluids and hold a microphone up to your face. Then every one would stare in dismay at whatever nonsense that spewed out. It was a Channel 5 Average Joe interview, not a spark for discussion. As a result, most of the class ended up being the professor standing at a podium talking for a hour and a half every Monday and Wednesday.
Like all literature classes, we read books, and we were lectured on the them. It wasn't exhaustive. It was mostly short stories from various famous authors, a Sunday afternoon spent at the Costco picking at free cheeses and multigrain crackers plopped with spinach dip. I don't remember very much from it, except for what I learned when reading the play Who's Afraid of Virgina Woolf?.
The main theme of the book is illusions versus reality, or what we think it is being different from what it is. The idea is that we all have thoughts about our relationships, jobs, self, and life that contrast the truth. They are distorted thoughts that make us feel better and help us deal with the truth that we probably aren't as great, or pretty, or intelligent, or important, as we think we are. So rather than drive a 2004 Corolla, we take a loan and make payments we can't afford to cruise around in that shiny F-250 whose four wheel drive will never be used. We cover ourselves in face paint to hide a real face that's blotted with blemishes. We squeeze into pants that are a size too small to minimize the pain the number on the scale brings.
When it comes to the Houston Texans, it's no different. The franchise has a winning percentage of .419, which is only better than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They have had only four seasons above .500. And besides the two division titles, the Texans have been awful for their entire existence.
Yet the fans, owners, players, and coaches tell themselves they are a talented team that's just a few plays or players from being where they are supposed to be. They aren't the Jaguars. They aren't the Titans. They aren't the Browns. They aren't the Raiders. They aren't Lions. They've had some terrible years, but at least they aren't that bad.
This is all a lie. Just like George and Martha's imaginary child, it's an illusion that protects them from the truth of reality. The reality is the Texans have been, and still are, one of the premier putrid teams in the NFL. Sunday's game against the Dolphins is just another tick mark on a long flowing list.
The Dolphins Had Five Touchdowns Before the Texans Had One First Down.
After today's game, I'm officially done with Bill O'Brien as the head coach of your Houston Texans. Once again, this team looked incredibly over-matched from the first snap, and the effort was utterly pathetic. That we were playing pivotal starters in trash time is an embarrassment.
The Texans offer nothing on either side of the ball. When one of the league's worst special teams unit is the highlight of your day, that's an incredible indictment of your suck.
The offense is exactly what we thought it'd be, and now we've probably seen Arian Foster's last snap in a Texans' uniform. Whether by arrogance or hubris, the team's lack of interest in addressing QB doomed them before the season started. Coupled with the front office's astounding inability to add talent to other offensive skill positions aside from DeAndre Hopkins, this offense is a sham in today's NFL.
With all the talent on the defensive side of the ball - and there is talent - the scheme is a veritable dumpster fire of stupid. Romeo Crennel has managed to negate JJ Watt. Vince Wilfork and Rahim Moore make me dream longingly for the days of Travis Johnson and Eugene Wilson. Yes, this same Travis Johnson.
Many wanted a coach who had the opposite personality of Gary Kubiak, and that's what we got. His act might work in college, but it's not in the NFL. Bill O'Brien is not an NFL-quality head coach.
I am trying so hard not to overreact and take the long view here. So, so hard. But we suck. We have an inept coaching staff, poorly executing players, no foreseeable way out of this h3llhole this season, and now no Arian.
After watching Bill O'Brien state, again, that the mistakes are on him as a coach (shades of Kubiak, there) when his team went out and shat the bed, I simply cannot continue to give this man the benefit of the doubt. At no point this season has this coaching staff had these 46 men ready to play at the start of the first quarter. At some point, that's got to be addressed, and it needs to be addressed by firing people, either now or at the end of the season. We all love the fact that OB believes in making adjustments, but at some point, you have to ask yourself why this team has to watch the other team rack up multiple TDs in the first half before the coaching staff can devise a scheme to counter what's being done to them. Why can't they make these adjustments as they install the week's game plan in the first place? I'd like to believe that we won't be forced to endure another season of OB and his band of misfits. But Bob McNair has a reputation as a patient man, and Dom Capers got four years, so...
I was talking to a friend during the game who riled me up by comparing this team to the 2013 team, saying this team was at least an improvement on that one. I freaked out, because at least the 2013 team was competitive. The 2013 team was a series or a mistake or two away from winning a lot of those games. They had a head coach and coaching staff that at least had the guys come out of the tunnel with some fire and ready to play. This 2015 team can't even muster competitiveness. I'm trying to remain calm, but basically, we're the Browns or Jags right now, and we have no room to look down at any other team. In 2013, McNair fired Kubiak because we lost to the Jags. In 2015, any team that loses to the Texans needs to find a new head coach. We are that bad.
As for the loss of Arian, for the rest of the season, and possibly forever, all I can say is that he shouldn't have been out on the field. We have guys behind him that needed the snaps, guys we could survive without, if the worst came to pass. This offense is wholly dependent on Foster, and we've never found his replacement. Now we're missing Foster, with no heir in place. It sucks that he pushed himself so hard to come back for this team, because he knows how valuable he is, and was lost on a meaningless play at a point where the game was out of reach. I hope it doesn't end for him on that field in Miami, but I have the sinking feeling it will.
Then it comes to the rest of the team.
I'm sorry, but our lines are in shambles. I get that it takes time for them to gel, and injuries happen, but as a believer in trench football, I believe you have to have solid play along both lines for anything else to have a chance at working. Simply put, we have nothing going on there. The OL can't gel with players missing every week so that the projected starters never play two games with one another and in their correct positions. The DL has gelled, but Father Time has come for Vince Wilfork and he's not providing the push we needed. Jared Crick has decided that in his contract year, he really does want to stay in Houston, so he's playing terribly in the hopes that no other team will contemplate signing him. Of course, he'll almost certainly be back next season, starting for us. Squee?!?
One day, our LB corps will learn to cover, learn to tackle, and learn to pressure the QB. I'd like to believe that day will come some Sunday in 2015, but, for now, Mike Vrabel's group is rocking the anti-awesome out there every single week. I won't comment on our secondary, because I'm trying not to overreact here and this team has already given me a headache today.
The tight ends? Our TE coach should be fired, along with Garrett Graham. The quarterbacks? Our future QB isn't on the roster right now (and he's not on IR, either), so I'm comfortably numb with Brian Hoyer Hoyering out there. Ryan Mallett needs to go, though. At this point, he's more trouble than he's worth, and OB cannot mouth his accountability mantra and keep Mallett on this roster. I'm sorry. Mallett offers nothing more than the ability to hold a clipboard and chart plays right now. If there's not a chance in h3ll that OB switches back to Mallett as the starting QB--and there shouldn't be, regardless of what Hoyer looks like out there--then there's nothing to be gained from keeping the problem child on the roster. Bad enough we're getting headlines as the team you set records against. We don't need "manchild QB makes another bad decision" headlines, too.
Arian Foster Is Out For The Year, But At Least We Get Free Tacos!